Advertised starting salaries for graduates hit six-year high

Figures reveal companies are opening up new positions and increasing pay to replenish their workforce with younger talent

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Graduate salaries have increased to a six-year high as companies look to those straight out of education to help ease the tight labour market, data has shown.

Figures from Adzuna reveal the average advertised salary for a graduate is up 7 per cent compared to a year ago, increasing from £24,389 in 2021 to £26,076 this year.

The figures also show that job vacancies for graduates rose to 14,690 from 9,265 this time last year – a 59 per cent increase. 

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However, with the Higher Education Statistics Agency forecasting more than 540,000 UK students are set to graduate this year, Adzuna estimates that more than 36 graduates will be vying for each available role this summer.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Student Employers, said the increase in vacancies was beyond pre-pandemic levels this year.  

“We’re also seeing additional financial incentives on offer such as sign-on bonuses and interest-free loans as well as more help with travel expenses. It’s a tight market so employers are doing everything they can to attract young hires,” he explained.

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Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, added that plenty of sectors remained “desperate” for talent and were looking for graduates to fill in those gaps.

“They’re well-paid positions, with advertised salaries for graduate roles hitting a six-year high and some sectors offering pay cheques up to £70k. It’s a welcome piece of good news for the class of 2022, who battled remote learning and pandemic pressures over the last two years,” he said. 

The research from Adunza also highlighted that several large employers were offering good graduate salaries. Among them were Aldi, which offers a £44,000 starting salary, and Lidl, which has a supply chain graduate programme that pays £37,000.

Similarly, in banking, Barclays was offering graduates £50,000, while JPMorgan was offering graduates up to £70,000.

The report also analysed more than 120,000 UK jobseeker CVs uploaded to Adzuna to find out the career pathways taken by recent graduates and the jobs they were working in five years after graduation.

It found that graduates from London’s Bayes Business School, as well as Oxford, Imperial College and Cambridge, earned more than graduates from any other university in the UK, taking in average salaries of more than £40,000 five years after graduation.